American Airlines says it halted service with on-board caterer that detected listeria at Los Angeles facility

Key Points
  • American Airlines said it halted meals from Gate Gourmet
  • Listeria was detected at Gate Gourmet's LAX facility, American Airlines said
  • No traces of Listeria were detected on food or food preparation surfaces
  • Some passengers who don't receive a meal could receive a travel voucher from American
The interior of an American Airlines 737.
Josh Noel | Chicago Tribune | MCT | Getty Images

American Airlines passengers flying out of Los Angeles International Airport might not receive a meal on board this week, after listeria was detected at one of the airline's on-board caterers.

American stopped using Gate Gourmet on Wednesday, said Ross Feinstein, an American Airlines' spokesman.

Listeria, a bacteria that can cause fever, diarrhea and can even be fatal, was found during a recent safety audit at Gate Gourmet's facilities.

However, traces of the bacteria were detected on surfaces that do not come into contact with food, such as floor drains, the airline said.

"As part of routine inspections, we identified traces of listeria in non-food contact areas, primarily floor drains, at our LAX unit," said Gate Gourmet spokeswoman Catherine Nugent. "Immediately and in accordance with our protocols, all floor drains and surrounding areas were immediately and aggressively treated."

American's Feinstein said the airline has not received reports of illnesses related to the Gate Gourmet operation at the airport, adding that "out of an abundance of caution, we made this decision because we felt it was the right thing to do for our customers and team members.

"Although we use Gate Gourmet as a caterer in other locations, we currently do not have any information that suggests that listeria has been detected at any other facility," he said.

The issue was reported earlier by The Street.

American will give travel vouchers to some passengers who do not receive their meal as the airline scrambles to find alternatives. It works with other caterers at the airport.

Gate Gourmet said American Airlines is the only one of its customers to stop using its services at Los Angeles International Airport. Delta Air Lines, for example, is still using the company for on-board meals as it said it had no indication of unsafe conditions for food preparation there.